The Brantford-Brant Business Resource Enterprise Centre welcomed over 100 guests to the Brantford Golf and Country Club on March 28th for Gair Maxwell’s widely anticipated presentation of The Branding Highway.
Gair lead the room of highly motivated and energetic entrepreneurs and professionals on the route of a metaphorical road trip inspiring businesses of any size or category to establish Clear Differentiation, create Customer Advocation and establish a Brand Legacy that rivals some of the best in the world. Local marketing guru and business consultant, Eustan Matthews, also spoke at the event, challenging others to take him up on his #40coffees40days initiative.
Maxwell, a former radio broadcaster and TV journalist for over 20 years, is now an international storyteller and TEC Canada’s 2012 Speaker of the Year. He relishes in discovering and sharing “the story” behind each of his subjects. “It is this storytelling that creates a natural, organic, magnetic HUMAN attraction,” Maxwell shares with his audience.
Mixing in classic road trip tunes throughout his presentation, Gair and Axl Rose take us to one of our first stops on the tour: Fredericton, New Brunswick. It is in this town that the audience is introduced to Gair’s client and longtime friend, Jim Gilbert. Jim is a used car salesman in Fredericton and unlike a lot of others in his industry. Comparing him to the “low-talker” on Seinfeld, Gair also describes Jim as being thoughtful, mild-mannered and astute in recognizing early in his career that his business is not just about selling four wheels and a tin roof. After months and years of trial and error, analysis and soul-searching, Gair, Jim, and Jim’s wife, Donna, realized something pivotal. It’s not their product or service that differentiates their business from its competitors. It’s THEM. Thus, Jim, “the huggable car dealer” was born. Years later, and now a $40 million a year operation, Jim and Donna have become a pillar in the business community and have been profiled in no fewer than five business books. Their marketing dollars are spent on the branding and storytelling behind “the huggable car dealer” and not on selling cars—and guess what it does? Sell cars!
Marketing efforts focused around the product or service is entirely wasted in this day in age, because everyone is doing it. Category language such as “reliable service, quality product, and unbeatable prices” is just white noise now. The brand must be a story embedded in the mind of the market. Just look at Toms shoes or Ferrari or Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle. All of these brands have discovered the ultimate secret to success, the brand within the brand—the story that makes us all want to buy what they are selling.
Maxwell has worked with dozens of companies, many of which have grown more than 5-10 times their original size in less than five years, while slashing their advertising budget! He cautions against traditional advertising methods, asking the question: “is playing it safe worth it? Are we playing to win or playing not to lose?” Boring is the riskiest of all business strategies, so dare to be different, dare to be that purple cow because, as Maxwell shares, “The Branding Highway is the road less travelled.”
For more information about Gair Maxwell and The Branding Highway, click here to open a new browser window.
For more information about Eustan Matthews and #40coffees40days, click here to open a new browser window.